How to Find the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Madison Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MadisonAL, you may be thinking about how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Role of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Madison AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Madison AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Madison AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Madison pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Madison AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Madison AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Madison home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Madison AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Madison Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Madison AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Madison AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Madison Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Madison Alabama.